photoshop creative

Photoshop tutorial: Enhance movement with blur

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
April 16, 2013

How to add an exciting motion blur effect to your images to create the sense of movement

Motion blur effect in Photoshop

Step 1

When using this filter, we need to create a duplicate of the Background layer. You’ll notice that this layer is locked (indicated with a padlock symbol on its layer), which stops it from being edited. But by going to the Layer menu and to Duplicate Layer, you can create an editable version above this locked one.





Step 2

Find the Quick Selection tool (W) in the Toolbar. The tool is kept with the Magic Wand tool in Photoshop CS versions, but in Photoshop Elements it’ll be with the Selection Brush tool. To use the Quick Selection tool, tick the Auto-Enhance option at the top of the screen and click and drag a selection over your main subject.




Step 3

When using the Quick Selection tool, you may see some areas of the selection overflow into the background. Hold the Opt/Alt key and click over these extraneous parts to remove them. By pressing Q, you can view the selection in Quick Mask mode, so you know just how well it has gone.





Step 4

When you have selected your main subject go to the Select menu and down to Inverse. The shortcut for this is Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+I. This flips the selection from the main subject to the background, making it the active area. This is indicated by the marching ants around the edges of the image.




Step 5

In your Layers palette, click on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom. You’ll now see a white and black mask appear on the layer. This has used the selection to hide parts of the image. Notice how the car is shown in black (hidden) and the background is in white (revealed).





Step 6

At the moment the mask is the highlighted thumbnail. Click on the image’s thumbnail next to this to edit the contents and not the mask. Head to the Filter menu and go down to Blur>Radial Blur. Set the Amount to 30 and the Blur Method to Zoom. Hit OK to see how your image has been affected by the filter.




Step 7

There may be an area in your image that hasn’t been blurred but should be. You’ll need to click back on the layer mask thumbnail on its layer. Select the Eraser tool and zoom in on this area (Cmd/Ctrl and +). By erasing the area that was missed out in the initial selection process, the blur effect can show through.

  • I thoroughly enjoy the tutorials. Sometimes we need to read or view them over and over before the options are automatic. As an example, hold the ctrl/opt key to remove sections not desired, or Q to view in quick mask.

    Thank you for providing these each month. I look forward to the 100th issue!

  • D Hattersley

    Observation, first there seems to be a wing mirror missing in the shot, is this intentional? There is a gausian blur around the car itself and the remaining wing mirror has been affected by the zoom blur. Duplicate original twice take out back ground by hand from layer 3 using lasoo tool. Apply zoom blur to layer 2. Increase the size of layer 3 just enough to cover the offending blur. Hey presto. Job done.